This handicapper points out that UCLA needs a victory over Stanford at the Rose Bowl to return to the Pac-12 championship game & is 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS in its last six meetings with the Cardinal.
Cardinal-Bruins Betting Odds
Most of the College Football odds market opened this game with UCLA chalked at -4 or -4.5, with a total of 49. Both those numbers had held steady in the early betting action.
Stanford could found getting five points at Heritage, and getting +172 to win this game straight up on the moneyline at Pinnacle.
Cardinal-Bruins: The Match-Up
Stanford went off this season as a 6/1 choice to win the repeat as Pac-12 champions, with a wins OVER/UNDER of 8.5. At 6-5 SU (5-6 ATS) and 4-4 in conference play the Cardinal are out of the running in the division and conference races, and will not play OVER their total.
Stanford started 3-1 this season, with that tough loss to USC, then took another tough loss, 17-14 at Notre Dame. The Cardinal then beat Washington State but lost at Arizona State in lackluster fashion 26-10. They then beat Oregon State 38-14 but lost at Oregon 45-16 and at home to Utah in overtime 20-17. Stanford then became bowl-eligible last week with a 38-17 victory in the Big Game at Cal.
This will be the Cardinal's worst season since they went 5-7 back in 2008.
UCLA began this season as a 3/1 pick to win the Pac-12, with a wins total of 9.5.
At 9-2 SU (4-7 ATS) and 6-2 in conference play the Bruins are tied for first place in the Pac-12 South, and with a victory Friday would win the South Division and play OVER their wins total.
UCLA started this season 4-0, with wins at Texas and at Arizona State. The Bruins then lost back-to-back outings against Utah and Oregon. But since then UCLA has won five games in a row, three of those over teams heading to bowls – Arizona, Washington and, last week USC.
The Bruins beat the Trojans last Saturday 38-20, covering as four-point favorites. UCLA spotted USC the first score of the game, then went on a 38-7 run to claim its third straight victory in that rivalry. The Bruins outgained the Trojans 461-276.
UCLA covered the spread in just one of its first eight games this season; it's 3-0 ATS over its last three games.
In six games this season against common opponents the Bruins are 4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS, while Stanford is just 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS.
Cardinal-Bruins Recent History
As mentioned above Stanford has won the last six meetings in this series, going 5-1 ATS. In the three meetings between coaches Shaw and Mora the Cardinal have beaten the Bruins by scores of 35-17, 27-24 (in the 2012 conference championship game) and, last year, 24-10.
Stanford outgained UCLA last year 419-266, outrushed the Bruins 192-74, won time-of-possession by a 37-23 margin and picked off UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley twice.
Cardinal-Bruins Betting Trends
Stanford is 2-8 on the totals this season, as Cardinal games have averaged just 42 points.
UCLA is 4-6-1 on the totals, as Bruins games have averaged 62 points.
Other important points to keep in mind before placing your College Football pick are injuries. Stanford WR Ty Montgomery (61 catches, 600 yards, six touchdowns this season) is dealing with a sore shoulder, and his status for Friday is uncertain.
Cardinal-Bruins Free Pick
We expected UCLA to win the Pac-12 this season, and they can't do it without winning this game. And if the Bruins win this game they'll probably cover this spread. So we like UCLA to take advantage of Stanford in a down season.
Free College Football Pick: Bruins -4.5 at 5Dimes